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Shall Armenian Perish? -ind19200228
SHALL ARMENIAN PERISH?
FEBRUARY 28, 1920
By Henry Morgenthau
Former Ambassador to Turkey, and National Vice-Chairman of Near East Relief
TWO hundred and fifty thousand Christian Armenian women enslaved in Turkey harems call to the people of America for liberation! One hundred thousand women already rescued by Near East Relief agents from harems will perish unless support from America is continued! Two hundred and fifty thousand children, orphaned by the unspeakable Turks, are calling in the only English they know, "Bread, and Uncle Sam." One million two hundred thousand destitute, homeless, clothe less adults look to the giant in the West for the succor that will keep them from annihilation. What shall our answer be?
If they were good enough to fight and die for is when we needed their help so sorely, are they not good enough to be given some crumbs from our plenty?
Since the beginning of the war, the Turkish Armenians have been largely refugees. A simple, agricultural people, they have been exiled from their farms and deprived of all opportunity to support themselves. Now, more than a year after the armistice, they are still living the life of nomads, able to continue alive only by virtue of American philanthropy. If ever unmerited suffering called for succor the plight of the Armenians should be heeded now. A few months more and it may be relief will come too late for those myriad's whom only we can save.
Let the American slogan now become -- Serve Armenians for a little while longer with life's necessities that they may be preserved for the day of national freedom and rebirth, which no people more truly and greatly deserves.
The belief, held by some persons, that Turkey has repented and can do no further harm, is without foundation. The group that led Turkey into war on the side of Germany is now in the saddle. The Turk has not been disarmed and these leaders are now aiding the Tartars. Kurds and Bolshevists are urging them on to kill and rob the surviving Armenians at every opportunity. The deportations and massacres during the war were not spontaneous uprisings of unorganized mobs, but were the working out of a well-plotted plan of wholesale extermination in which regular Turkish officers and troops took part as if in a campaign against an enemy in the field.
More than 2,000,000 persons were deported. The system was about the same everywhere. The Armenians, men, women and children, would be assembled in the marketplace. Then the able-bodied men would be marched off and killed by being shot or clubbed in cold blood at some spot which did not necessitate the trouble of burial.
Next the women would be sorted out. Agents of the Turk officers picked the youngest and fairest for their masters' harems. Next the civil officials had their pick, and then the remainder either were sold for one medjidi -- a silver coin valued at about 80 cents -- or were driven forth to be seized by the lower class Turks and Kurds.
As a last step, those who remained, mothers, grandmothers, children, were driven forth of their death pilgrimages across the desert of Aleppo, with no food, no water, no shelter, to be robbed and beaten at every halt, to see children slain in scores before their eyes, and babies dashed to death against rocks or spitted of the bayonets of the soldier guards.
If America is going to condone these offenses, if she is going to permit to continue conditions that threaten and permit their repetition, she is party to the crime. These peoples must be freed from the agony and danger of such horrors. They must not be saved for the present but either through governmental action of protection under the League of Nations they must be given assurance that they will be free in peace and that no harm can come to them.
pic. 265, Hunger Knows No Armistice
The youngsters at mess above are at an American orphanage in Beirut, Syria -- saved from actual starvation by the Near East Relief
There are hundreds of thousands of orphans -- Greek, Syrian, and Armenian -- who depend on the Near East Relief for food and a lace to live. And the Near East Relief depends upon American contributions to keep the good work going
pic. 265, A bread line in Erivan, America, where the people wait hopefully for hours to get the daily meal provided by American charity. "Next to their faith if God," says former Ambassador Morgenthau, "is their trust in the disinterested food will and generosity of the American people." On another page Mr. Morgenthau gives some graphic information of the Near East Relief
A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922